Anthony Weiner Should Resign

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I have no idea what will become of Anthony Weiner now that he has tearfully confessed, at great length and in uncomfortable detail, to tweeting photos of his naked torso and various other clothed and unclothed body parts to at least six women who were not his wife. I appreciate his candor, have great sympathy for his wife, and think Andrew Breitbart is odious. But Weiner's refusal to resign seems like a spasm from the guy he was until a week ago: the chesty liberal loudmouth who tore up conservatives on Fox News and never backed down. Weiner may not realize it, but he's not that guy anymore. He's not the cartoon scourge of the right wing. He's a joke, his behavior was egregious, and he ought to do the decent thing and resign.

Already, a debate has arisen over whether this kind of behavior should be disqualifying in a politician, and whether Weiner can survive the scandal. On some level, I suppose that the moral, cultural, and sociological elements of this affair are worth thinking through and writing about. But there's a tendency among bloggers, maybe among everybody, to over-analyze and over-intellectualize scandals such as this one that has the pernicious effect of obscuring what I think is a very basic point: Weiner had so little regard for his office, his constituents, and his duty as a member of Congress that he apparently thought nothing of tweeting pictures of his genitals to random women. Does the analysis really need to go any further than that?

Furthermore, Pelosi's call for an ethics committee investigation strikes me as a cop out, just as it was with William Jefferson and Maxine Waters. I guess there are due-process reasons for why such an investigation may be necessary and even useful. Sunlight never hurts. But Pelosi and other Democrats (and Republicans, too, when it suits them) too often use these investigations to avoid confronting ugly facts and making difficult decisions. Weiner's survival shouldn't hinge on some ridiculous technicality such as whether he used government resources or lied to the press. He has already admitted to behavior that is unbecoming of a congressman. That is reason enough to call for his resignation if Weiner himself is too blinkered, arrogant, or shameless to step down on his own. He doesn't deserve the job anymore.

Update: Jim Fallows weighs in, more elegantly and persuasively than I did, and agrees that Weiner should go Drop-down image credit: AP

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Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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